I have recently made it through an intensive dieta in the Tabaquero lineage. Plant diets are a shamanic way for deep healing and learning from a prescribed plant. In this tradition, all illness of the body stems from the mind (and the modern psychosomatic research only confirms that), and so any unprocessed trauma, fears, emotions get locked in as the energy blockages. When unresolved, these eventually turn into sickness. There are those who choose to diet because of serious health complications. There are also those, for whom communing with the plants is a way to evolve, or perhaps dissolve, to heal the human condition, move further away from the over-analyzing mind, the ever present ego-self, and closer to Spirit.
My diet was held by an Amazonian Mestizo maestro, a beautiful man who splits his time between the diet centre, and his free-of-charge practice where he serves the local community. During my very first consulta, Maestro told me that my energy was clear and strong, but that I also had a blockage in my Solar Plexus, preventing it from flowing freely. Having been healthy yet still struggling with hormonal and digestive issues, on the physical level - this made a lot of sense. And then there was the emotional and spiritual angle. Solar Plexus, or Manipura Chakra as it's known in the Vedic tradition, is the centre of our personal power, our self-esteem. This is where most of us are blocked - by our history, childhood events, deeply rooted beliefs of our self-worth, by the constant comparison to others. This is also where we hold the trauma of our relatives, our ancestors. The Solar Plexus is the keeper of our inner fire, releasing the energy for our physical body, and fueling us with confidence, inner authority and strength.
In my recent work with other Plant Medicine I have felt myself touching on this blockage, going into a process around it, but no amount of ceremonies could resolve it. And so I felt ready to dive deeper. Maestro prescribed me a mixture of Tobacco with a deeply cleansing and realigning Plant. And just as my diet approached, I got severely sick with a mysterious jungle illness. There couldn't be a more perfect time for me to go into it.
Plant diets are a time of complete isolation. No external stimulation. No distractions. Little food at specific times. I switched my phone off, took my contact lenses out and made myself at home in my small wooden tambo (hut). I had a bed, a hammock, a small toilet with a shower. I brought some pencils to draw and one book on meditation. I was so unwell and uncomfortable in this body, that by the time the diet started, I was in a place of complete surrender.
And let's just say, it did exactly what it promised on the package. I received the deepest energetical and physical cleanse I'd ever experienced. It blows my mind to reflect on this process as it was beyond challenging on so many different levels, but yet following it through was the most incredible gift of self-love that I could have offered myself.
I'd rise with the sun, clean a little, do my morning sadhana, and then be brought a bowl of papaya and banana. Some mornings, it was literally an ambrosia and I took an hour to eat it, savoring each and every bite. The time between the breakfast and noon would be mine to draw, read, contemplate. Around noon Maestro would come by to serve me my Medicine. Some days, the effects lasted until I fell asleep. Others, I felt more coherent after a few hours. Either way, for the entire time I have suffered from the worst nausea. Maestro said that it was the Medicine removing old stories, emotions, blockages. Wow, I was shedding some serious baggage!
Because of the nature of my diet, it wasn't particularly enjoyable, physiologically speaking. I also did a lot of purging. In our modern culture vomiting is seen as something bad, something we'd prefer to avoid. Prior to my work with the Plants, I purged perhaps thrice in my life - as a sick child and a drunk teen. And yet, other cultures recognize it as a hygienic cleansing practice, like the Kunjal Kriya in Ayurveda. In the shamanic tradition, the purge is seen as an energetical release of the said blockages, emotions, memories, thought patterns. Don't get me wrong - I would never say it was fun. But I guess it's like with a tooth cavity - going to the dentist is pretty uncomfortable for most of us. But when it's needed, we have to suck it up and just go. The only way out is through.
On those days when I purged, I immediately felt so much better. The nausea wasn't as debilitating and I was able to be more present, to receive truly profound teachings from the Plants. Every single day I fell back onto my spiritual practices - I would pray, chant, work with the Reiki energy, watch the breath come and go. Late in the day I'd be brought a bowl of cooked veggies. Some nights, I couldn't even look at them. Others, by the time I was ready to eat they would have gone cold but God, nothing ever tasted as good as that stale potato!
I'd usually fall asleep just as it got dark, which in the Amazon happens around 7pm. I was exhausted, physically and mentally, and often slept 10h+. So many profound teachings came through my dreams. Quite often, the deep cleansing continued the dreamland - I saw dead bodies, disgusting warms, crazy stories. And then, the next morning, the process would begin all over again. Day after day. Breath by breath.
It was probably one the most difficult experiences of my life. I have never been hospitalized or had undergone a surgery. This particular dieta felt like both of these, at the same time. But it had to be done and the time was perfect. What has truly helped me was my sadhana, and I am so grateful to all of my teachers for sharing their Light and wisdom with me over the past years. I prayed, trusted, surrendered. In turn, as a gift from these two Plants, I have received a profound renewal of my body-mind-Spirit. No two diets are ever the same. Each Plant is a different teacher and healer. The process is truly individual and in a mysterious magical way, perfectly tailored to our own needs. Needless to say, once it was over, I have felt clear, so light, and pure. My eyes shine so bright, skin is beautiful, the mind free of unnecessary narrative.
I bow down in deepest gratitude to Mother Nature, for all the incredible Plant Medicine we are surrounded by. One week of isolation, self-inquiry, and the deepest internal cleansing later, and I have never felt more blessed to be walking this Earth.